This project was started by the three agencies with a view to supporting partner organisations, particularly church-based organisations, to hold their governments to account for the consequences of their policies. This toolkit specifically targets African partners, seeking to share the struggles and successes of partners already monitoring government policies with those that are new to this work.
The development of this toolkit has been an in-depth process. Two consultants were commissioned to research and write the toolkit. They were supported by a reference group composed of staff from CAFOD, Christian Aid and Trócaire and partner organisations with experience in policy monitoring. The draft toolkit was piloted with partners in workshops in Malawi, Sierra Leone and Ethiopia. Comments from the reference group and the workshops contributed to this final version of the toolkit.
A toolkit is not a textbook or instruction manual. It doesn’t contain everything you need to know about policy monitoring. The best way to understand the purpose of a toolkit is to think about a real box of tools. When you first open it, you may look through the whole box to find out what is inside. But after that, you seldom need all the tools at once: you use them as you need them. You might use the saw and hammer very often when you are building a house. For another task, you need the screwdriver and pliers. Some tools in your box may never come in handy. In the same way, this toolkit is intended to give you options. It invites you to select and combine elements that suit your own work, in your own context.
The purpose of this toolkit is to provide an introduction to policy monitoring as a way of making a difference in our societies. The aims of this resource are to:
- give you a clear overview of what policy monitoring is
- learn from the experiences of others in Africa
- introduce you to key terms and methods that are used in policy monitoring
- offer ideas on how your organisation or network could plan activities to monitor policies.
The toolkit is directed towards civil society organisations (CSOs) in Africa. A CSO is understood as any organised group outside the family, government and private sector. This includes faith-based organisations, non-governmental and community-based organisations, gender, youth and women’s organisations, academic or research bodies, special interest organisations and occupation-based groups. Within this large pool, the toolkit was written with the following target audience in mind:
- people with little or no former experience in monitoring government policies
- people who play the role of facilitators, planners, catalysts or trainers within their own organisations or networks
- CSOs with a specific commitment to economic justice and an interest in strengthening accountability at any level of government
- CSOs that have a strong social base and the capacity to build, coordinate or participate in networks.